standard (to say the least), we find that such a page of music exhibits
the pursuit of some leading thought (melodic motive or phrase), with
precisely the same coherence and consistency, the same evidence of
determined aim, as is displayed in the creation of a forcible essay, a
masterly poem, an imposing architectural plan, or any other work of art
that betrays intelligence and a definite, fixed, purpose. This is no
more nor less than might be expected from the dominion of the law of
The equally inflexible demands of Variety are satisfied by presenting
this self-same leading thought in ever new and changing aspects, - _not_
by exchanging the thought itself for a new one at each successive angle.
This latter faulty process would naturally lead to a conglomeration of
impressions, baffling comprehension and jeopardizing real enjoyment.
In a classic page of music we perceive that each successive unit grows,
more or less directly, out of those which go before; not so directly, or
with such narrow insistence as to produce the impression of sameness and
monotony, but with such consistency of design as to impart a unified
physiognomy to the whole. Hence, it will often be found that every
melodic figure, during a certain section (if not the whole) of a
composition, may be traced to one or another of the figures which
characterized the first phrase, or the first two or three phrases, of the
piece. This was emphasized by our reference, near the end of the first
chapter, to the 8th Song Without Words of Mendelssohn. If the student,
in analyzing the melody of that composition, will endeavor to penetrate
some of the clever disguises employed by the composer (for the sake of
Variety), he will find the whole piece reducible to a very few melodic
figures, announced at or near the beginning. See also No. 45 (C major),
No. 36, No. 26. Also Schumann, op. 68, No. 7, No. 8, No. 18, No. 23.
Also Beethoven, pianoforte sonata, op. 10, No. 2, last movement; op. 26,
In musical composition this process is known as thematic development, and
it generally extends over the whole, or a greater part, of the piece.
Its operation on a smaller scale, with more limited reference to one
phrase alone, effects the development of the phrase _by extension_.
The process of extension or expansion, by means of which the phrase
usually assumes a somewhat irregular length, consists mainly in the
varied repetition of the figures or motives that it contains; and the
continuity of the whole, as extension of the _one phrase_, is maintained
by suppressing the cadence - suspending all cadential interruption - during
the lengthening process. For example:
[Illustration: Example 39. Fragment of Mendelssohn.]
These six measures result from a repetition (variated) of the third and
fourth measures of the original - regular - four-measure phrase. A cadence
is due in the fourth measure, but it is not permitted to assert itself;
and if it did, its cadential force would be neutralized by the entirely
obvious return to (repetition of) the motive just heard. Further: -
[Illustration: Example 40. Fragment of Mendelssohn.]
There is no cadence in the fourth measure, - the current of the melody
obliterates it and hurries on, voicing the last measure again and again
until it dies away in the tenth measure, where a cadence ends it. That
it should be the _tenth_ measure is purely accidental; the number of
measures is of little account in the act of extension; here, it was
continued until a convenient place was found (with reference to chord and
key) for the cadence. Further: -
[Illustration: Example 41. Fragment of Mendelssohn.]
Measures 1, 2, 3 and 8 constitute the original regular four-measure
The following regular phrase (to be found in the last movement of
Beethoven's pianoforte sonata, op. 28): -
[Illustration: Example 42. Fragment of Beethoven.]
is immediately followed by this lengthy and elaborate extension: -
[Illustration: Example 43. Fragment of Beethoven.]
[Illustration: Example 43 continued.]
The portion marked _b_ is a complete repetition, with quaint variation,
of the original four-measure phrase, marked _a_ in Ex. 42; _c_ is a
repetition of the last figure (just one measure) of the phrase, with the
melodic parts inverted, or exchanged; _d_ and _e_ are a literal
repetition of the two preceding measures - (_c_) and _c_; _f_ is another
recurrence of (_c_), with still another inversion of the melodies; _g_
repeats _e_ an octave higher; and _h_ is nothing more or less than a
curious repetition of _g_, in longer tones, and in reversed direction.
Distinct cadential interruption is carefully avoided after the original
phrase has been announced, that is, throughout Ex. 43, - which is the
significant proof (borne out by the manifest identity of the _melodic_
members) that these measures form part and parcel of the original phrase,
as extension or development of it, and _not_ a new phrase. The total
length is sixteen measures, developed thus out of the original four.
For an exhaustive explanation of phrase-extension, with all the technical
details, the student is referred to my HOMOPHONIC FORMS, Chapter III.
* * * * * *
Another method of extending a phrase consists in prefacing a measure or
two of purely _introductory_ material; it is, therefore, rather
anticipation than prolongation, and is composed most commonly of the
figure of the accompaniment, announced briefly before the actual
This is shown very clearly in the first measure of the 22d Song Without
Words; also in the first measure of No. 7, No. 31, No. 42, No. 40, and
others; the first _two_ measures of No. 34, and No. 1; the first _three_
measures of No. 19, No. 26, and No. 37, - and needs no further
illustration. It emphasizes the necessity of vigilance in defining the
correct _starting-point_ of the first phrase; for a mistake at the
beginning may interfere seriously with the locating of the cadences
(according to our fundamental four-measure rule). For instance, in No.
42 the cadences do _not_ fall in the 4th, 8th, 12th measures - and so
on - but in the 5th, 9th, 13th, 17th, from the very beginning of the piece.
When the introductory passage is longer than _three_ measures, it
probably constitutes a complete phrase by itself, with its own cadence;
in which case, of course, it must not be analyzed as "extension." For
example, at the beginning of No. 29; still more apparently at the
beginning of No. 28, No. 41, and others.
* * * * * *
INHERENT IRREGULARITY. - Finally, - there exists another, third, condition,
besides those mentioned at the head of this chapter, whereby a phrase may
assume an irregular dimension; not by doubling or dividing its length (as
in the large and small phrases) nor by the processes of extension, - but
by an arbitrary and apparently incalculable act of _melodic liberty_, - by
allowing the melody to choose its own time for the cadential
interruption. This comparatively rare occurrence is illustrated in Ex.
17, No. 1 (five-measure phrase), and Ex. 17, No. 2, second phrase (six
measures long). It is true that in each of these cases the "extra"
measures might be accounted for as "extension by modified
repetition," - for instance, in No. 1 the _second_ measure might be called
a reproduction (or extension) of the first measure. But cases will be
encountered where a phrase of three, five, six, or seven measures will
admit of no such analysis. In such instances the student is compelled to
rely simply upon the evidence of _the cadence_. As was advised in the
context of Ex. 17, he must endeavor to define the phrase by recognition
of its "beginning" and "ending," as such; or by exercising his judgment
of the "cadential impression." See also Ex. 48, second phrase (six
See Schubert, pianoforte sonata No. 1 (A minor, op. 42)
_Scherzo_-movement; first 28 measures, divided into 5 phrases, - as
demonstrated by the melodic formation - of 5, 5, 5, 7 and 6 measures.
Also Schubert, _Impromptu_, op. 90, No. 3, measures 42 to 55 (phrases of
5, 5 and 4 measures.)
LESSON 6. Analyze the following examples, locating the cadences and
defining their value (as perfect or semicadence); and determining the
nature of each irregular phrase (as small, large, or extended phrase):
Beethoven, pianoforte sonata, op. 22, second movement (_Adagio_), first
Beethoven, pianoforte sonata, op. 28, _Scherzo_-movement.
Beethoven, pianoforte sonata, op. 14, No. 3, _Menuetto_.
Mendelssohn, Songs Without Words: No. 4, first 5 measures.
No. 46, last 9 1/2 measures.
No. 42, last 15 measures.
No. 45, last 11 measures.
No. 12, last 12 measures.
No. 14, last 11 measures.
No. 36, last 22 measures.
No. 37, last 11 measures.
Beethoven, pianoforte sonata, op. 27, No. 2, last movement; measures 7 to
23 from the second double-bar.
Beethoven, pianoforte sonata, op. 28, first movement; from the double-bar
(near the middle of the movement) measures 21 to 94 (_fermata_ symbol);
in this extraordinary specimen of phrase-development, the original
four-measure phrase yields seventy-four successive measures, with very
few cadences to divide it even into sections. Same sonata, last
movement, last eighteen measures.
CHAPTER VII. THE PERIOD-FORM.
PHRASE-ADDITION. - The phrase is the structural basis of all musical
composition. By this is meant, not necessarily the single phrase, but
the phrase in its collective sense.
The phrase is, after all, only a unit; and the requirements of Variety
cannot be wholly satisfied by the mere development and extension of a
single phrase, except it be for a certain limited section of the piece,
or for a brief composition in small form (like Schumann, op. 68, No. 8).
The act of _addition_ does therefore enter into the processes of
music-writing, as well as _extension_. Phrase may be added to phrase,
in order to increase the primary material, and to provide for greater
breadth of basis, and a richer fund of resources. The condition to be
respected is, that such aggregation shall not become the ruling trait,
and, by its excess, supplant the main purpose, - that of _development_.
That is, it must be held rigidly within the domain of Unity. The
student of the classic page will therefore expect to find a more or
less marked family resemblance, so to speak; prevailing throughout the
various phrases that may be associated upon that page.
Each additional phrase should be, and as a rule will be, sufficiently
"new" in some respect or other to impart renewed energy to the
movement; but - so long as it is to impress the hearer as being the same
movement - there will still remain such points of contact with the
foregoing phrase or phrases as to demonstrate its derivation from them,
its having "grown out" of them.
This process of addition (not to be confounded with the methods of
extending a single phrase, illustrated in the preceding chapter) is
exhibited first, and most naturally, in the so-called Period-form.
THE PERIOD. - The Period-form is obtained by the addition of a second
phrase to the first. It is therefore, in a sense, a double phrase;
that is, it consists of two connected phrases, covering _eight ordinary
measures_, or just double the number commonly assigned to the single
Each one of these phrases must, of course, have its individual cadence,
or point of repose; the first - called the _Antecedent phrase_ - has its
cadence in the fourth measure, and the second - called the _Consequent
phrase_ - in the eighth measure. The effect of the Period-form is that
of a longer sentence interrupted exactly in the middle, - not unlike a
bridge of two spans, resting on a central pier. But, precisely as the
central pier is only an intermediate point of support, and not terra
firma, so the ending of the Antecedent phrase is never anything more
weighty than a semicadence, while the definite, conclusive, perfect
cadence appears at the end of the Consequent phrase, - or of the entire
The reason for this distinction of cadence is obvious. A period is not
two separate phrases, but two related and coherent phrases which
mutually balance each other. The Consequent phrase is not merely an
"addition" to the first, but is its complement and "fulfilment." The
two phrases represent the musical analogy of what, in rhetoric, would
be called thesis and antithesis, or, simply, question and answer. In a
well-constructed period the Antecedent phrase is, therefore, always
more or less _interrogative_, and the Consequent phrase _responsive_,
For illustration (Mendelssohn, No. 28): -
[Illustration: Example 44. Fragment of Mendelssohn.]
The co-operation, or interaction, of the principles of Unity and
Variety, is nowhere more strikingly shown than in the formulation of
the musical period. Either element has the right to predominate, to a
reasonable degree, though never to the exclusion or injury of the
other. In the above example, the principle of Unity predominates to a
somewhat unusual extent: - not only the figures (marked 1-2-3-4), and
the motives (_a-b_), are uniform, in the Antecedent phrase itself, but
the melody of the Consequent phrase corresponds very closely throughout
to that of the Antecedent, only excepting a trifling change in the
course (marked _N. B._), and the last few tones, which are necessarily
so altered as to transform the semicadence into a perfect cadence. It
is this significant change, _at the cadence_, which prevents the second
phrase from being merely a "repetition" of the first one, - which makes
it a "Consequent," a response to the one that precedes.
Further (Mendelssohn, No. 23): -
[Illustration: Example 45. Fragment of Mendelssohn.]
In this example also, the Consequent phrase is a complete affirmation
of its Antecedent, agreeing in its melodic form with the latter until
the cadence is nearly due, when an extra measure is inserted (as
extension), and the usual digression into the necessary perfect cadence
is made. The condition of Unity predominates, but a noticeable
infusion of Variety takes place.
Further (Mozart, pianoforte sonata): -
[Illustration: Example 46. Fragment of Mozart.]
Here, again, the condition of Unity prevails, but with a still greater
infusion of Variety; the melody of the Consequent phrase _resembles_
that of the Antecedent in every detail; the rhythm is identical, and it
is evident that the second phrase is designed to balance the first,
figure for figure, the principal change being that some of the figures
are simply turned upside down (compare the places marked _N. B._). The
semicadence rests upon a dominant chord (fifth-step) of D major; the
perfect cadence upon the same chord, it is true, but as _tonic_ harmony
of A major, with keynote in the extreme parts. Being a keynote, though
not in the original key, it is valid as perfect cadence.
Further (Beethoven, pianoforte sonata, op. 13): -
[Illustration: Example 47. Fragment of Beethoven.]
[Illustration: Example 47 continued.]
In this example, the condition of Variety predominates decidedly. The
Consequent melody differs totally from the Antecedent, even in rhythm,
and the necessary portion of Unity is exhibited only in equality of
length, _uniformity of accompaniment_, and similarity of character
(tonality, and general harmonic and rhythmic effect). Observe the
diversity of melodic extent, in the two phrases, in consequence of the
preliminary tone borrowed from the semicadence for the Consequent
phrase. Greater variety than here will rarely be found between two
successive phrases that are intended to form the halves of one coherent
For more minute technical details see the HOMOPHONIC FORMS, Chapter V.
LESSON 7. Analyze the following examples. Locate the cadences;
compare the phrases and define the degrees of Unity and of Variety
exhibited in the melody, or elsewhere; and mark such irregularities of
forms (or extensions) as may be found: -
Mendelssohn, Songs Without Words, No. 35, measures 5 1/2-13. (By 5 1/2
is meant the _middle_ of the fifth measure, instead of its beginning.)
No. 45, first 8 measures.
No. 29, measures 4 1/2-12.
No. 14, " 1-8.
No. 34, " 1-10.
No. 18, " 1-9; 10-17.
No. 9, " 3 1/2-7.
No. 27, " 5-12.
Schumann, op. 68, No. 3, measures 1-8; 9-16.
No. 5, measures 1-8; 9-16. (Do not overlook the preliminary tones
which precede the first measure.)
The first eight measures of Nos. 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 15, 22, 23, 24,
26, 30, 32, 39. Also Nos. 13 and 28, first _ten_ measures.
Beethoven, pianoforte sonatas: op. 2, No. 1, _Adagio_, measures 1-8.
Same sonata, third movement, "Trio," measures 1-10.
Op. 2, No. 2, _Largo_, measures 1-8; also _Scherzo_, measures 1-8; also
_Rondo_, measures 1-8.
Op. 2, No. 3, measures 1-13; also _Scherzo_, measures 1-16; also last
movement, measures 1-8.
Op. 10, No. 1, _Finale_, measures 1-8; and measures 16 1/2-28.
Op. 10, No. 3, measures 1-10; also _Largo_, measures 1-9; 9 1/2-17;
also _Menuetto_, measures 1-16; also _Rondo_, measures 1-9.
Op. 14, No. 2, measures 1-8; also _Andante_, measures 1-8; also
_Scherzo_, measures 1-8.
After analyzing these examples, the student may venture to define the
periods in other compositions, classic or popular, especially such as
he may chance to be learning.
CHAPTER VIII. - ENLARGEMENT OF THE PERIOD-FORM.
The processes of extension and development are applied to the period in
the same general manner as to the phrase. The results, however, are
broader; partly because every operation is performed on a
correspondingly larger scale, and partly because the resources of
technical manipulation increase, naturally, with the growth of the
Among the various methods adopted, there are three, each significant in
its own peculiar way, that provide sufficiently exhaustive directions
for the student of structural analysis.
ENLARGEMENT BY REPETITION. - The first and simplest method is to
increase the length of the period-form by the process of _repetition_;
repetition of the entire sentence, or of any one - or several - of its
component members, in a manner very similar to that already seen in
connection with the single phrase (Chap. VI, Ex. 39, etc.), and under
the same conditions of Unity and Variety; that is, the repetitions may
be nearly or quite literal, or they may have been subjected to such
alterations and variations as the skill and fancy of the composer
An example of complete repetition (that is, the repetition of the
entire period), with simple but effective changes, may be found in
Beethoven, pianoforte sonata, op. 13, _Adagio_, measures 1 to 16.
Examine it carefully, and observe, among other details, the treatment
of the perfect cadence (in the 8th measure). See also, Song Without
Words, No. 27, measures 5 to 20.
The repetition of one of the two phrases is exhibited in the following
(Mozart, sonata No. 14): -
[Illustration: Example 48. Fragment of Mozart.]
The Antecedent is a regular four-measure phrase, with semicadence (made
on the tonic chord, but with _3d_ as uppermost tone); the Consequent is
a six-measure phrase, with perfect cadence, and is repeated, with
partial change of register. The whole is a "period with repeated
A somewhat elaborate example of extension by detail-repetition is seen
in the following (Chopin, Mazurka No. 20, op. 30, No. 3 - see the
[Illustration: Example 49. Fragment of Chopin.]
[Illustration: Example 49 continued.]
These sixteen measures are the product out of eight measures, by
extension; that is, they are reducible to a simple period-form (as may
be verified by omitting the passages indicated under dotted lines), and
they represent in reality nothing more than its manipulation and
development. The original 8-measure period makes a complete musical
sentence, and was so devised in the mind of the composer, _without the
extensions_. The method of manipulation is ingenious; observe the
variety obtained by the striking dynamic changes from _ff_ to _pp_;
and, hand in hand with these, the changes from major to minor, and back
(as shown by the inflection of _b_-flat to _b_-double-flat). These are
first applied to members only, of the Antecedent, as indicated by the
brackets _a_ and _b_, and then to the entire Consequent phrase.
Observe, also, that in the repeated form of the latter, the rhythm is
modified to a smoother form, during two measures. The result here
achieved is constant Unity and constant Variety from almost every point
of view, admirably counterbalanced.
THE PHRASE-GROUP. - A second method consists in enlarging the
period-form to three phrases, by the same process of addition which, as
explained in the preceding chapter, transforms the single phrase into
the double-phrase or period. In order to preserve the continuity of
the three phrases, it is evident that the second phrase must _also_
close with a semicadence, - the perfect cadence being deferred until the
last phrase is concluded.
This form, be it well understood, does not include any of the
triple-phrase designs which may result from merely repeating one or the
other of the two phrases that make a period, as is shown in Ex. 48.
_All such phrase-clusters as are reducible to two phrases_, because
nothing more than simple repetition has been employed in their
multiplication, should always be classed among ordinary periods; for
two successive phrases, if connected (that is, unless they are
purposely broken asunder by a definite perfect cadence at the end of
the first phrase) always represent the analogy of Question and Answer.
The enlarged form we are at present considering consists of three
_different_ phrases, as a general rule; probably very closely related,
or even distinctly resembling one another; but too independent,
nevertheless, to constitute actual repetition, and therefore to admit
of reduction to two phrases. For this very reason it cannot justly be
called "period" at all, but takes the name of "phrase-group." An
illustration by diagram will make the distinction clear: -
[Illustration: Phrase group diagram.]
Observe that the classification depends upon the number of
phrases, - upon the _melodic_ identity of the phrases, - and upon the
_quality of the cadences_.
No. 1 is illustrated in Ex. 15; No. 2, in Ex. 42 and the first four
measures of Ex. 43 (cadence not perfect, it is true, but same
phrase-melody and _same cadence_); No. 3 is seen in Ex. 44
(phrase-melody similar, but cadences different) - also in Ex. 47; No. 4
is seen in Ex. 48; No. 5 is rare, but an example will be discovered in
Lesson 8; No. 6 is illustrated in the following (Grieg, op. 38, No.
[Illustration: Example 50. Fragment of Grieg.]
Comparing this sentence with Ex. 48, we discover the following
significant difference: There, no more than two phrases were present;
the whole sentence was _reducible_ to two phrases. Here (Ex. 50),
however, no such reduction is possible; three sufficiently similar - and
sufficiently different - phrases are coherently connected, without
evidence of mere repetition; it is the result of Addition, and the form
is a _phrase-group_. The first cadence is, strictly speaking, a
_perfect_ one; but of that somewhat doubtful rhythmic character, which,
in conjunction with other indications, may diminish its conclusive
effect, and prevent the decided separation which usually attends the
perfect cadence. This is apt to be the case with a perfect cadence _so
near the beginning_ (like this one) that the impression of "conclusion"
is easily overcome. In a word, there is no doubt of the unbroken
connection of these three phrases, despite the unusual weight of the
first cadence. See also the first cadence in Ex. 51.
By simply continuing the process of addition (and avoiding a decisive
perfect cadence) the phrase-group may be extended to more than three
phrases, though this is not common.
THE DOUBLE-PERIOD. - A third method consists in expanding the period
into a double-period (precisely as the phrase was lengthened into a
double-phrase, or period), _by avoiding a perfect cadence at the end of
the second phrase_, and adding another pair of phrases to balance the
first pair. It thus embraces four _coherent_ phrases, with a total
length of sixteen measures (when regular and unextended).
An important feature of the double-period is that the second period